Originally uploaded by Roostar.
This is obviously not a photograph from last night's highly productive Soul Beaver rehearsal. It is one of the hedgehog that arrived the other night, preceded by a terrible whiff. Stinky, as he became known, stayed one night, ate dog food and had some fresh water. The next morning all thqat was left was copious amounts of hedgehog poo and the smell.


Boy's night in (sort of)

J was attending a friend's daughter's wedding last night so I stayed in and enjoyed a Bruch Violin concerto from the Proms and a French comedy (Rien sur Robert) on BBC4. The violinist Leila Josefowicz had the full range of facial expression you might expect of a rock guitarist. Plenty of gurning and snarling and well as the occaisonal surprised look as if she had no idea what was coming out of her instrument. The Bruch No.1 is great fun to listen to anyway, but the facial theatrics didn't hurt.


Sharm & Long John Baldry

Not wanting to dwell too much on death I do need to say a few words about the attacks at Sharm El Sheik in Egypt. Half of Soul Beaver (as The Beaver Brothers) played there some years ago. We had a lot of fun and met some lovely people who made us very welcome. A version of The Beaver Brother was invited back this year but touring and house moves kept us a away. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I wish the people of Sharm well and hope they can overcome this madness. I hope the musicians there at the moment can get back on stage and play again tonight.

Sadly (and with the assurance that my next post will be a more positive one) I notice we've just lost 'Long John' Baldry. As well as being a highly influencial musician he was also the first person I can rember whose single I would be captivated by. In my very early days there were a few songs I could listen to over and over again. The first of those was 'Let the Heartache Begin' by Mr Baldry. As with James Doohan I was happily surprised to discover what else he had managed to achieve in his all too short life.


Scotty - Beamed up

Like many people my age I used to watch and enjoy the orignal Star Trek series. Even then we knew how creaky the stories and sets were, but looked forward to seeing Kirk falling in love and getting into a fight, McCoy saying something scathing, Spock fighting his emotional side and Scotty fibbing about how long it would take to fix the engines, saving everyone again and getting very little thanks for it.

James Doohan who played Scotty has just died. Click the link and read about his fascinating life. It's better than telly.


Soul Beaver gig

We had a wonderful gig on Saturday night. It was a combined 25th wedding anniversary and 50th birthday party. The crowd were very friendly and by the second set we had everyone dancing. The first set suffered by being in a hot room with a cool, tempting balcony outside.

I'm (hopefully) attaching a photograph taken by Dave (trombonist, cow bell and sound guy). It's dark but worth enlarging to catch a moody sax solo moment.


A bit of colour

A bit of colour
Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Far too hot today. I arranged a get together for people at work (which seemed to go alright) and I had time to drop 'round to see my folks and snap Mum's flowers.


Sartori in a scout hut

Minimal Drums
Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Soul Beaver (well, most of it) rehearsed last night in its usual scout hut home. It was baking even before we began playing. Rich (pictured here) decided on a minimal set up (later adding just a floor tom and cymbal) but played as if he had a full kit.

For me, the rehearsal was a chance to let out the frustrations of the past month. I felt (during Take me to the River) that I had achieved a form of enlightenment. Or maybe it was the lack of oxygen. Anyway, it was good to be playing with other musicians again and I'm looking forward to a gig by a river on Saturday.


Sunday all over the world

Today has been an antidote to the rest of the week. It's a sunny day and, rather than tidy the house, we got out to visit Coleshill (the place where our organic veg comes from) and then Buscot. The Buscot fete was on and featured a silver band playing a medley of Beatles songs as George Martin looked on. J and I visited the gardens of Buscot Park which had some high quality cake in the cafe.

I've just made some bread and have been playing through some old songs on the bass. There's a Soul Beaver rehearsal on Tuesday night and I'm looking forward to playing with other people again. Last night we went to the wedding of one of J's friends. There was a four-piece band there; very tight with an interesting range of songs. They were so slick though that there wasn't any soul (to my ears). Maybe it was just that I'd heard those songs covered so many times before and in the same key, with the same arrangements. Having said that, the band looked happy to be doing it. While making bread I put on a Branford Marsalis track (In the Crease) which blew all the musical cobwebs away.



It's been a tiring week. Lots of paperwork to swim in and plenty of meeting to attend at work. There has been jubilation at the prospect of the Olympics in London and the sick feeling of the capital being attacked. We've been here before of course. My dad grew up in London when it was being bombed from the air and we all remember the days when innocent people in shops and pubs were targetted by the IRA. My response to the bombings this week is sadness at the loss, an attempt to understand why anyone would do this (nobody does such things just because they 'are evil') and a resolve to go and enjoy the music shops of London as soon as my friend is ready to go.


testing testing... who put that there?

This is test of the new function at Blogger that lets me upload photgraphs directly onto the site (without using Flickr). If it's worked you should see what looks like anti-landing craft devices set up on carpets. This is how I want our new front room to look if we move. Maybe without the metalwork.



I don't seem to have any superlatives left after watching Live 8 yesterday. No lack of talent, no lack of enterntainment and a serious message put across to a huge part of the world's population.
And what did the cynics achieve...?



Originally uploaded by Roostar.
More wonderful tennis today. I am going to have to get out of the house at some point.

More music (and a lot of talking)

Live 8 happens today. I'll be home to watch (while doing other things) and will, no doubt, be comparing it to Live Aid. Lots of music, played live in a good cause - what could be bad about that?

Last night I got to go to Oxford for the first time in (what feels like) ages. Living in a village makes someone like me appreciate, even more than I already did, the multicultural nature of the town. I spent most of the evening in Borders, which in Oxford has an eclectic mix of customers and staff - people who look like they might be slightly out of place in anywhere more conventional. And yes, I know, Borders is corperate and conventional, but it's also a big room with books, coffee, interesting people and a special atmosphere, which is why I keep going back.

My visit last night also gave me the chance to catch up with an old friend. We talked about jobs, books, music, films, family and the joy of electronic toys. With 36 years experience of talking to each other our talks have become strange, labyrinthian things. Such was my level of coffee intake though that I found sleep quite hard and have been up since six this morning listening to BBC Radio 3's Mixing It on the PowerBook.

Luther Vandross

I don't want this blog to become a list of dead people but it is worth mentioning the recent demise of Luther Vandross. He was a fine singer who was quoted as saying "'I'm more into poetry and metaphor, and I would much rather imply something rather than to blatantly state it."



I noticed there hasn't been much from me recently about music. There is (I think) just one Soul Beaver gig in July. Bridge Street is on hold as our guitarist moves house. The planned gigs in Egypt will not now happen (for me at least) as I'm probably going to be moving house as well. Despite all this lack of activity I'm still playing the bass every night. I'm also fooling around with acoustic and electric guitars too. Exercises with the metronome and recording song ideas on Garageband take up most of the time. I'm also bouncing between the four string jazz bass and the fretless five string; this is making me feel confident enough to move between the two.

In the meantime I'm counting the weeks until my Stick arrives. Its linear markers (the Stick equivalent of dot markers) are in different places to where you would expect them on a bass or guitar. In fact the only common currency between Stick and bass is that they are tuned in fourths. Having the markers in a different place means I find myself doing mental exercises (mostly while waiting to sleep) where I play though bass lines I know well but on the new territory of the Stick's fretboard.

I'm looking forward (understatement of the year) to finally getting my hands on this thing and trying out all the ideas that have been buzzing around my head this past year.

In other news my head injury (it now looks like I have a zipper installed on my cranium) has caused smiles all round. This makes me feel the pain of the accident has been balanced out.